Braves: Marcell Ozuna gets yet another glowing review from new teammate

MLB: AUG 23 Mets at Braves

After a frankly miserable road trip out west, the Braves are back on track following a two-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox, and last night was particularly encouraging, thanks to big performances from Chris Sale and Marcell Ozuna.

Sale toed the rubber against his former team for the first time and pitched arguably his best game as a member of the Atlanta Braves, tossing six shutout innings with a season-high ten strikeouts. It was electric from the seven-time All-Star, who is looking the best he’s looked in over five years, boasting a 5-1 record with a 2.95 ERA and 11.0 K/9 through his first seven starts with the Braves.

However, the pitching hasn’t been the problem of late in Atlanta. It’s been the bats, and while last night wasn’t their best performance, Marcell Ozuna continued his tear to start the season, blasting two home runs and driving in four of the Braves’ five runs on the night. The Big Bear now leads MLB in homers with 12, as his comeback story keeps getting better.

Over the last calendar year, Ozuna now has 51 homers in 160 games. But what makes this triumphant return to stardom that much better is the overwhelming praise he consistently receives from teammates regarding his clubhouse presence. Last night, it was his new teammate, Chris Sale, raving about the positive energy he brings into the building day in and day out.

The entire baseball world was shocked the Braves hung onto Marcell Ozuna for as long as they did. He had become one of the worst offensive players in the league, didn’t play defense, and was arrested on two different occasions.

Most thought the only reason he was still around was because of the four-year, $65 million contract he signed following the 2020 season. However, while the money certainly played its part, the Braves never really considered parting ways with Ozuna because of his attitude. Quite literally everything was going wrong. His own fan base jeered him into oblivion every time he stepped into the batter’s box. Yet, Ozuna’s infectious personality and work ethic never wavered.

Without those two things, this comeback would never have even been possible. But damn, are we glad that it is.

Photo: John Adams/Icon Sportswire

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